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A boy with Nephrotic Syndrome, who has a fear of needles, got to find out more about blood samples on a tailored tour of his hospital haematology unit.

Jacob Isherwood, aged 13, has a rare renal condition, diagnosed when he was two years old. This condition means he must have regular blood samples taken to help monitor his condition.

Jacob Isherwood and Harvey's Gang

Jacob Isherwood and Harvey's Gang

Jacob attended an exclusive laboratory tour in the Clinical Haematology laboratories at Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham with his mum Sarah, to help them understand his condition and the laboratory process.

Jacob’s mum Sarah said: “The whole experience was fantastic from start to finish; having spent so long over the years having Jacob’s bloods done it was so fascinating to see the whole process in the lab and to get to see all the work behind the scenes.”

The tour was organized by award winning charity, Harvey’s Gang, which is an international initiative to increase the involvement and knowledge of patients and their families in the laboratory aspects of their treatment.

Pathologists at Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) joined forces with Harvey’s gang to help the children in their care overcome their fear of hospitals.

Monique Burgin, paediatric nurse specialist at Nottingham’s Children’s Hospital attended the tour with Jacob and Sarah, she said: “Thanks to the fantastic interest and hard work by our pathology and haematology staff, Jacob was invited down and given the amazing opportunity to be NUH’s first patient to join the labs for a tour of his own blood sample and learn more about what happens to his bloods in the lab.

“It was an exciting opportunity for everyone involved watching Jacob’s blood wiggle and giggle through the machines, looking down microscopes and wearing white lab coats. It was a fun and educational experience which has helped Jacob and his mum better understand his condition and what secrets his blood can tell us to better look after him.”

Monique who has been helping Jacob overcome his fear of needles for the past four years, added: “You will also be glad to know Jacob had his bloods in clinic recently and couldn’t have handled it any better, he was so proud.”

Jacob added:

It was really good and I really enjoyed having to put my blood through the machinery and typing into the computer system.”

Jacob’s sample is one of approximately 8,000 tests a day analysed by the QMC pathology laboratory, as well as processing around 57,000 units of blood components a year, which are vital to treatments for patients including those undergoing blood transfusions.

Michael Skill, deputy service manager for blood transfusion said: “The tour with Jacob was very well received by the laboratory staff and has sparked conversations throughout the department. Scientists in the laboratory start their careers off at university or train within the department and the opportunity to see and meet patients is rare. It can be easy to see a patient as a number or a disease working in pathology laboratories and Harvey’s Gang has helped make the department and service more patient-focused and we hope to have more young patients and their families visit our department to better understand their conditions.”

Nephrotic Syndrome is a rare renal condition where the kidneys leak large amounts of protein into the urine, causing painful swelling. Around 1 in 50,000 children is diagnosed with the condition every year.

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